We are into the last week of our vacation, and I miss the cooking and baking I usually do. I did need to bring a dessert to a friend's for dinner tonight, so I made this hazelnut pear tart; many thanks to my sister -in-law for letting me use her kitchen...
Believe it or not, this tart was decided on because there was a small amount of shaved chocolate in the cupboard, that I had used for another dessert earlier in the vacation. I figured I could melt it and use it as a decoration!
So after a stop at the grocery store for butter, hazelnuts, pears, eggs and more chocolate for the chunks, this was how I spent part of my morning.
Start the pastry for the crust. In a food processor, combine:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 ounces cold butter
Process until you have a fine crumbly texture.
1 egg yolk
Pulse a few times to incorporate the yolk, but still keep the crumbly texture.
Pour the crust into a 10" tart shell with a removable bottom.
Using your thumbs, press the pastry up the sides of the tart shell, and then press the remaining crumbs evenly onto the bottom of the pan.
Try and keep the sides straight, without excess pastry in the corners, and form a flat edge of about 1/4".
Bake the tart shell in a 350F oven for 10 - 12 minutes, until the crust is set and slightly golden.
If there are any cracks, gently press them closed.
Remove the shell from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
To make the filling, process until fine:
4 ounces lightly toasted hazelnuts
1 ounce flour
Set aside until needed.
4 ounces soft butter
4 ounces icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, one at a time
the ground hazelnuts and flour
Mix well to combine.
Set aside while you prepare the pears.
Peel and core:
Cut into 1/4" thick slices.
Spread a thin layer of the hazelnut mixture onto the bottom of the cooled tart shell.
2 ounces of chocolate chunks on top of that.
Arrange the pears on top of the chocolate; I chose to fan mine out in a circular pattern.
Scrape the remaining hazelnut mixture onto the pears...
...and spread it evenly over the top.
Place the tart back into the oven, at 350F, and bake until the filling is puffed, golden and set. This took about 30 minutes.
Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
Melt a small amount of dark chocolate, and drizzle it over the top of the tart.
Another option is to dust it with icing sugar.
Serve the tart at room temperature, with or without softly whipped cream.
- Instead of pears, try apples, plums, peaches, cranberries or cherries.
- All the measurements for the hazelnut frangipane are WEIGHED, not volume.
- Use hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans or peanuts.
- If you don't have access to a food processor, almond meal can be used.You can also use a rolled dough, such as the one in the post Goat Cheese Tart with Grape Tomatoes and Fresh Basil.
- If you choose to use a rolled dough, remember to pre-bake it using baking beans.
- Use orange or lemon zest; add spices such as cinnamon or ginger, almond extract instead of vanilla to add interest to your frangipane.
- Any chocolate can be used. I used a milk chocolate that had honey and dried pears in it. It can also be omitted.
- Finely chopped candied ginger instead of chocolate will complement the sweetness of the pears.
- Turn the tart into a square by baking a shortbread base in a 10" square pan. Spread the frangipane onto the cooled base, and top with the chocolate and pears, and bake to set.
- Another square option is to spread raspberry (or any type) of jam over the shortbread crust, and then top with the frangipane and bake.
- Use peanuts to make the frangipane, spread a thin layer of thick caramel (dulce de leche) over the crust, top this with sliced bananas and chunks of chocolate before covering it with the frangipane and baking.
- In the post, Baked Pears with Dark Chocolate and Almond Frangipane, I have given another method of using the frangipane; this is a quick and easy dessert option that does not involve the need to make and bake a crust. This can also be made into a gluten free option, as the amount of flour used is minimal, and an all purpose gluten free blend can easily be substituted for the flour.